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William B. Ide’s June 15th, 1846 dated letter addressed to Commodore Stockton, but delivered to Commander John B. Montgomery of the U.S.S. Portsmouth by William Todd, as quoted in the California Historical Society Quarterly, DOCUMENTARY, pp. 82,83, Papers of the California Historical Society, Vol. I, Part 1, 1887 [From Mr. Charles Templeton Crocker’s collection of Sloat Manuscripts, probably in Washington A. Bartlett’s handwriting].

                                                                         Sanoma, June 15th, 1846.
                                                                         Our present Head Quarters

Dear Sir/

            I beg leave to inform you by express, of a change in the Political affairs of Sanoma, and the Sacramento Valley; which hass taken place within the last week.  With the circumstances which led to this change, you are doubtless acquainted : viz. the hostility of the Spaniards to the American emigrants.  About 40 days since a proclamation was issued by the Spaniards ordering all Foreigners to leave the country, and forbidding them to take any of their property with them, at the same time threatening them with extermination should they presume to remain in the Country.  The immigration to the States was gone; the company for Oregon had left us.  There was now no alternative but to die silently, and singly by the hands of our enemies or fly to meet the foe.  Information had reached the upper end of Sacramento Valley (where I resided) that 200 Spaniards were on their way up the Valley for the purpose of destroying our wheat, burning our houses and driving off our cattle.  Aroused by appearances so shocking, a very few of us resolved to meet our enemy (being encouraged by the known presence of Capt. Freemont’s command in the Valley) and dispose of our difficulties in the best possible manner.  The 200 Spaniards proved to be a band of horses (about 200) guarded by a Spanish officer and 15 Men, being driven up the Valley as far as Capt. Sutters, thence across the River for the lower settlements for the declared and expressed purpose of being mounted by Soldiers and sent back to enforce said Proclamation.  In self defence those few men (viz 12) seized the moment and pursued those horses, captured their guard and drove the horses to the neighborhood of Capt. Freemonts Camp.  Still writhing under the dreadful necessity above alluded to we pursued our way both Night and Day adding to our number a few true hearts to the number of 34 men,, until the dawn of the morning of the 14th inst when we charged upon the Fortress of General Guadalupe Vallego, and captured 18 prisoners (among whom were 3 of the highest Officers in the Californian Govt. And all the Military Officers who reside in Sonoma (8 Field Pieces, 200 stand of arms, a great quantity of Cannon, Canister, and Grape Shot, and a little less than 100 lbs of powder (quite too little to sustain us against an attack by the use of cannon).  By the Articles of Capitulation it was contemplated we were to be provisioned by the generrosity of our Captured Genl, while we can keep possession or while opposition renders possession necessary.  By another arrangement of cannon and fieldpieces, we have strengthened our position and continue to hold it, under the authority of twenty four well armed men and (as we have good right to believe) the rule of the People.  The Alcalde we discharged under a new appointment, the Soldiers were set at liberty, and the said Officerrs were escorted by ten armed men to an assylum under the generous protection of Capt. Freemont.  This day we proclaim California a Republic, and our pledge of  honor that private properrty shall be protected.  With this, as we hear from various parts of the country, the Spaniards are not only satisfied but pleased.  We are situated three or four miles North of the North end of the Bay, and are liable to be attacked by an enemy from beyond the bay but would repel any that should be made by the use of small arms.  We have not Powder to work our Cannon, and therefore with our small force could not long resist the operation of cannon against us.

            Destined as we are to certain destruction should we prove unsuccessful, we have the honor to be your Fellow Country Men, and whether we conquer or perish we are resolved to approve ourselves not unworthy the kindly regards of those who “Build to the honor and glory of the American Flag.

            It is our object and earnest desire to embrace the first opportunity to unite our adopted and rescued country, to the country of our early home.

            With every consideration of respect and by will of the People.  I have the honor to be & c

                                                                        WM. B. IDE.
                                                                        Commander in Chief
                                                                        At the Fortress of Sanoma

To/Commodore Stockton
            of the U. S. Navy.

 

January 31, 2007

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