Kearny's March: The Epic Creation of the American West, 1846-1847

By Winston Groom

In June 1846, common Stephen Watts Kearny rode out of castle Leavenworth, Kansas, with thousand infantrymen, certain for California. on the time, the state was once hell-bent on growth: James ok. Polk had in recent years received the presidency by means of threatening England over the borders in Oregon, whereas Congress had simply voted, in defiance of the Mexican govt, to annex Texas. After Mexico declared battle at the usa, Kearny’s military of the West used to be despatched out, sporting orders to occupy Mexican territory. while his excursion ended a 12 months later, the rustic had doubled in measurement and now stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific, gratifying what many observed because the nation’s targeted destiny—and whilst atmosphere the level for the yankee Civil warfare.
 
Winston Groom recounts the fantastic experience and probability that Kearny and his troops encountered at the path. Their tale intertwines with these of the well-known mountain guy equipment Carson; Brigham younger and his Mormon fans fleeing persecution and Illinois; and the ill-fated Donner celebration, trapped within the snow of the Sierra Nevada. jointly, they come across wild Indians, Mexican armies, political intrigue, risky flora and fauna, gold rushes, and land-grabs. a few again in glory, others in shackles, and a few under no circumstances. yet those have been the folk who helped the United States satisfy her promise.
 
Distilling a wealth of letters, journals, and army documents, Groom provides us a robust account that enlivens our figuring out of the fascinating, if unforgiving, company of country-making.

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Military Secretary George Bancroft had issued comparable orders to Commodore John Drake Sloat, commander of the U. S. Pacific Squadron. on the time, there has been a large neighborhood of yank emigrants residing there, such a lot living in cities alongside the coast or on farms within the Sacramento valley. It was once expected that those stable humans could stand up opposed to the Mexican experts within the occasion of battle, or even instigate a warfare themselves. It was once shaping up as an explosive experience, yet Frémont felt as much as the duty. If profitable he knew he may come domestic lined in glory. Little did he dream that in its place he could go back below arrest and dealing with a court-martial for mutiny, a dangling offense. the next yr, 1846, the battle with Mexico arrived. It broke out among a Mexican military at the Rio Grande and the U. S. military below common Zachary Taylor, which President Polk had despatched south to impress hostilities. at the least that’s the best way most folks observed it. Polk’s tale used to be that the Mexicans had attacked American infantrymen first, and on American soil, and he used to be sticking to it. whereas the imperative theater of the conflict remained alongside the Rio Grande, Polk additionally set into movement one other occasion designed to meet his dream of an the USA “from sea to shining sea. ” He despatched out pressing orders to Colonel (soon to be a basic) Stephen Watts Kearny at citadel Leavenworth, Kansas—then thought of the western “frontier” of the United States—to march his two-thousand-man military of the West 1000 miles down the outdated Santa Fe path and catch the hot Mexico Territory, a major Mexican province including Arizona, New Mexico, and components of Colorado, which was once shortly being ruled from Santa Fe. Kearny’s extra directions have been to march the military one other thousand miles west to the California Territory, which additionally integrated what are almost immediately the states of Utah and Nevada, and take that, too. Polk’s line of pondering used to be that the population of these far-flung provinces have been being so sick served by way of their govt down in Mexico urban they'd willingly undergo U. S. conquest. He wasn’t faraway from incorrect. within the New Mexico Territory, for instance, the govt appeared powerless to guard its farmers from the depredations of the wild Indians, even as taxing the voters seriously for that individual objective. nonetheless, Kearny’s job used to be daunting. The Santa Fe path used to be difficult and difficult. There have been alternate up and down its direction lengthy adequate that no-one used to be going to wander away, yet climate, terrain, and adverse Indians have been continuously demanding, and to get an entire military over it was once a classy venture and logistical nightmare. Then there has been the query of what lay in wait on the different finish. may the Mexican govt ship a wide military as much as shield where? may Kearny face insurmountable fortifications? may the inhabitants be rebellious? after which, assuming good fortune in Santa Fe, he might then need to stream the California strength one other thousand miles, this time throughout the most inhospitable desolate tract and mountain terrain in the world, which remained unmapped, unexplored, and all yet unknown.

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