The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945 Page: 129
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a foreword by George D. Lyman. San Francisco (Cal-
ifornia Historical Society), 1943. Pp. 97. Illustrations, maps.
This book offers an eyewitness account of a portion of the
American conquest of California told by John S. Griffin, an
army surgeon who was with Kearny's "Army of the West,"
and a participant in the battles of San Pascual, San Gabriel,
and La Mesa. After the conquest of New Mexico General Kearny's
orders were to move across to California where he was to take
possession, cooperating with any American naval forces found
there. Following his orders, Kearny set out from Santa F6
with three hundred dragoons, but near Socorro he encountered
Kit Carson, who was carrying dispatches to Washington telling
that California had already been taken by Stockton and Fr6-
mont. Kearny reduced his forces to slightly over one hundred
men and, taking Carson as a guide, moved on over the southern
route for California.
The difficulties of travel are forcefully recorded by Dr. Grif-
fin. Long before the Colorado River was reached both the
men and mules of the expedition were virtually exhausted.
Near the Colorado Kearny was to receive the disquieting in-
formation that counter-revolution in California had overthrown
the initial successes of Sloat and Fr6mont. Griffin wrote in
his diary: "We may expect a small chunk of hell when we get
[to California]" and proved himself prophetic. At the battle
of San Pascual the Mexicans took a heavy toll of Kearny's
Only the intrepid Carson and American determination made
it possible for any part of Kearny's forces to be salvaged. But
the wounded and dying were in such numbers as to call for a
maximum exertion from Dr. Griffin. And with his faithful
recordings a valuable record of medical practice of his time
As may be already apparent, this account is important for
the intimacy of detail given; it is also salient because accounts
of travel to California along the southern route are much
scarcer than those for the northern trails. Along with Emory's
Notes of a Military Reconnoissance, from Fort Leavenworth in
Missouri, to San Diego, in California, this is one of the two
complete diaries of Kearny's expedition. Two other significant
fragmentary accounts of the expedition are those written by
Philip St. George Cooke and Abram R. Johnston. Editor Ames
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945, periodical, 1945; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/m1/133/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.