Charles Frederick Holder.

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have been disposed to censure Cap-
tain King for his portrayals of garri-
son life, chiefly because of an imag-
inary effect these portrayals have
upon the civil public. A certain
feeling of uneasiness in army circles
set in with the appearance of " The
Colonel's Daughter," and "Marion's
Faith," and this has grown into a
"remonstrance" in certain quarters,
to the infinite merriment of not a
few, as subsequent stories have found
their way into print. In replying to
published strictures upon one of his
latest books he has publicly said :

"The character of 'Waring' was not in-
tended to represent my idea of the ' thorough
army gentleman, ' neither was it my inten-
tion, to portray therein ' a really fine charac-
ter. ' ' Waring' was a whimsicality, as gen-
erous in many ways as he was selfish in
others. As 4 Two Soldiers' led to ' An Army
Portia, ' and that to ' A Soldier's Secret, ' and
all three had their raison d'etre, so may it be
found that this picture of garrison life just
after the war, when 'Doyles' were many, is
but the prelude to ' more serious work, ' and
in contrasting the troublous past with the
idyllic present of army life, those who have
time to read may yet find something more
than 'entertainment for the passing hour. '"

It would seem clear at a glance
that no book worth reading could be
made from the humdrum doings of
actual garrison life of to-day, and an
army post made up of ideal charac-
ters would also be monotonous, and
so like Utopia as to become shortly
unbearable to ordinary terrestrial
beings. A book about such an an-
gelic military community would be
acceptable only to the vain and frivo-
lous who wish to be considered of a
superior order of existence.

There must be composite charac-
ters and imaginary conditions if we
are to have a genuine story in these
" Piping times of peace. " It is doubt-

ful if the public would ever have
considered the characters and cus-
toms set forth in Captain King's
books anything more than clever ex-
aggerations, had not army people
called attention to them by taking
the delineations so severely to heart.
But this fact has served to make book
reviews interesting if nothing more.
Now no sooner is a new army story
out, than the author is bombarded
right and left; and any number of
"keys" to the characters are for-
warded to him post haste. Again in
a letter he touches upon this point:
" Yes, I appreciate what you have to
say about the guesses made in the
service as to the dramatis persona.
There were nine guesses at 'Lady
Pelham, ' and all of them wrong. I
have never yet found any one who
really knew the original of that char-
acter. Rest her soul — she's been
dead many a long year."

As Captain King is not yet fifty
years of age, we may reasonably ex-
pect that the supreme effort of his
life is still to be made, and will be
made with such success as to insure
him not only passing but perpetual
honor among mankind.

The old adage, "like father like
son" finds a happy illustration in the
person of the genial author of " Mar-
jorie and Her Papa."

Lieutenant Robert Howe Fletcher
was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. His
father, Doctor Robert Fletcher, who
is a member of the Royal College of
Surgeons, London, England, served
through the civil war with distinc-
tion, and has since become well
known in scientific circles for the
excellent bibliographical work he
has done in connection with the Sur-
geon-General's Library at Washing-
ton, D. C.

In 1867, Mr. Fletcher, being then
seventeen years of age, went on to
Washington, and in a personal inter-
view with President Johnson obtained
an appointment to the Naval Acade-
my. During his four years' course
at that institution he had the expe-



rience of nine months of sea service
at home and abroad. After graduat-
ing he was attracted by the reports
of active service that our scattered
little army was doing on the Indian
frontier, and became imbued with a
soldier's ambition to join it.

President Grant, who was a per-
sonal friend of Mr. Fletcher's father,
encouraged the midshipman in the
idea, with the result that Mr.
Fletcher exchanged his warrant in

ant Fletcher in his book on the
Chief Joseph campaign. Subse-
quently the young officer was on
duty in the engineers' office at 1
sion headquarters at San Francisco
and in Southern California until 1886,
when it became evident that he was
permanently disabled by dutv in the
held, and he was honorably '

After his retirement, Lieutenant
Fletcher first of all turned his atten-
tion to painting, fitting up a study


the navy for the commission of a
second lieutenant in the 21st Infan-
try. Lieutenant Fletcher joined his
regiment in Idaho Territory in 1872.
After serving a number of years on
the frontier, he became General
Howard's aide de camp in charge of
scouts, during the Nez Perct Indian
war in 1877, at which time his health
was seriously impaired by hardships
and exposure. General Howard
makes honorable mention of Lieuten-

in San Diego for that purpose. But
he soon abandoned a life wholly de-
voted to this art, for the more re-
munerative occupation of literature.
His great skill with the pencil
has, however, stood him in good stead
in illustrating his stories with ori
nal and attractive sketches. He
not, strictly speaking, a beginner at
writing, having written a story when
little more than a boy for Frank
Leslie's Chimney Corner. Also after



graduating from the Naval Academy
he had been an occasional contri-
butor in prose and verse to The Cap-
ital, a weekly paper edited by Donn
Piatt in Washington, D. C. But his
first serious work was a novel entitled
."A Blind Bargain." This appeared
serially in The Golden Era, a mag-
azine issued in San Diego, and was
afterward printed in book form. In
1887, when Lieutenant Fletcher took
up his residence in San Francisco, he
began contributing short stories to
The Argonaut. Most of these tales
had their scenes laid in the Indian
country, although one of them,
"Dick," dealt with naval life; and
another, "The Adventures of Yulita
Anita de Sunatvarita in Corner Lots, "
is a reminiscence of San Diego in
the astonishing days of its "boom."

A collection of these stories, in-
cluding one or two new ones, notably
"The Mystery of the Studio," was
published in 1891, under the general
title of "The Johnstown Stage."
Lieutenant Fletcher wrote during
the year of 1889 that justly cele-
brated child's chronicle, " Marjorie
and Her Papa : How They Wrote a
Book and Made Pictures for It."
This at first appeared in St. Nicho-
las magazine. It has since come
out as a book and has entered the
foremost ranks of children's litera-
ture of to-day. " Marjorie" was fol-
lowed in St. Nicholas by "Two Boys
and a Girl," from the same pen. It
seems scarcely necessary to say that
the author has by such meritorious
works as these won a large place in
the affections of the rising generation.

Lieutenant Fletcher works steadily
with his pen, when his health will
permit, contributing to various mag-
azines and periodicals. A story
from his pen will appear in the same
issue of the Californian with this
article. As a dialectician he at times
equals the excellence of Bret Harte,
and is truer to the Westerners of
our own time. He has just completed
a new novel called "The Story of
Ray Stone," which as representing

his matured powers may be looked
forward to with interest by the many
eager readers who have followed him
through his earlier productions.

The scholar and soldier are happily
combined in the person of Captain
John Bigelow, Jr., of the 10th U. S.
Cavalry. Few men have enjoyed
such rare advantages as have fallen
to his lot, and still fewer have im-
proved the same so well. By inher-
itance and instinct he is a literary
man, and by professional penchant a
man of arms.

He is the eldest son of Hon. John
Bigelow, the distinguished journalist,
diplomat, and biographer, and was
born in the city of New York, May
1 2th, 1854. Mr. Poultney Bigelow,
traveller and writer, is also a son of
the same honored father. Willi
members of his father's family, the
future soldier travelled abroad during
1859-60, and when he did so again in
the following year he remained away
till 1867. The senior Bigelow was
appointed consul-general in Paris,
and on the death of Minister Dayton
succeeded to the more responsible

Young Bigelow was placed in the
best schools of the French capital,
and afterward became a student at
Bonn on the Rhine. On his return
to the United States, he attended the
Friends' School at Providence, R. I.,
and was eventually fitted for West
Point. He went abroad once more
in 1869, and was placed in a public
school at Berlin, from which he en-
tered the University of that city.
At Freiberg, Saxony, he also spent
some time in the Mining Academy.
While thus studiously engaged, he
saw something of the process of mo-
bilization of the German army, of
the transportation of material, pris-
oners, etc. ; and as a matriculate of
the University of Berlin attended the
triumphant entry of the troops into
the capital at the close of the Franco-
Prussian war. Returning home in
1873, he reported as a cadet at the
Military Academy the day after land-





ing in New York. He graduated in
1877, a member of the largest class
which up to that time the Academy
had turned out, and was commis-
sioned a second lieutenant in the
10th U. S. Cavalry, and reported
for duty with his regiment in the fol-
lowing winter at Fort Duncan, Texas,
on the Rio Grande River. In De-
cember, 1878, he was detailed by the
Secretary of War as instructor in the
department of French and English
languages at the West Point Acad-
emy, where he remained until 1884.
During the year 1883, he was pro-
moted and married, his wife being a
daughter of Judge Henry Clay Dal-
lam of Baltimore.

His periods of repose were parox-
ysms of "learned labor;" for in the
midst of an instructor's engagements
he was able to write and publish
" Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte, a
Strategic and Tactical Study."

Relieved at West Point, Lieutenant
Bigelow rejoined his regiment at
Fort Davis, Texas, and in the spring

of the following year marched
with his command to the
department ot Arizona and
took station at Fort Grant.
Lieutenant Bigelow partici-
pated in the campaigns
against the Apaches, who
were led by the redoubtable
chieftain Geronimo. A diary
kept by Mr. Bigelow during
these stirring times on the
southwestern border was pub-
lished as a series of artich

Early in 1887 he was again
ordered east, being detailed
as adjutant-general of th<
trict of Columbia militia,
which was then beii
' ized. This position he filled
with credit to himself and the
service until relieved two
years later. He owes tl.
portunity which made p
ble his chief literary produc-
tion to this detail. "The Prin-
ciples of Strategy : Illustrated
Mainly from American Campaigns."
was written in Washington, and while
the author had access to the War De-
partment library and the advantage of
personal contact with officers of wide
experience and authority. The book
appeared simultaneously in London
and New York. The principal
was in England. The new and re-
vised edition was prepared while the
author was on duty at Fort Assini-
boine, Montana. About the time of
the completion of the revision, Lieu-
tenant Bigelow was honored with
promotion to a captaincy. Follow-
ing is an extract from the pr
the new edition: "While of para-
mount importance in the army, mili-
tary study is hardly less important
in the reserve, or the national guard.
Nor is it unimportant outside ox these
military classes. It is the citiz-
rather than the soldiers who decide
the great question of peace or war,
and determine the military policy of
a nation. Hence a certain amount
of military knowledge is useful, not



to say necessary, in every walk of civ-
il life, and should be regarded as an
essential part of a liberal education.

" The literature of the day abounds
in works on the art and science of war,
but these are based for the greater
part upon the experience of European
armies in European countries. It is
the purpose of the author of this book
to discuss the subject of strategy in
the light of American warfare, and
thus furnish instruction for Ameri-
cans not only in the theory of this
subject, but also in the military
history and geography of their own

Honorable Frederick Douglass, in
acknowledging receipt of a book
written by the Reverend T. G. Stew-
ard, D.D., who was appointed to his
position in the army by President
Benjamin Harrison, and is now chap-
lain of the 25th U. S. Infantry,
penned these appreciative words :

"I am not theologian enough to venture
a criticism in respect of the soundness of
the conclusions arrived at in your
volume, entitled 'Genesis Re-
read,' but with the millions of
your countrymen who have Afri-
can blood, I own myself a debtor
to you in that production. It is a
credit to the mind and heart of
our whole people and a killing
condemnation of our alleged
mental inferiority. I have sel-
dom read a book more elevated
in style, more lucid and logical
in argument, more rich in re-
search, more profound in thought,
or that gave evidence of more
earnestness, industry, and candor
in its production. I rejoice that
you were able to write it. In
speaking to Mr. Wears about the
book, I expressed a wish which
I repeat to you, and that is, that
you would keep on writing. In
preaching you speak to your
congregation; in writing you
speak to the country, and the
country has great need of such
teachers. "

In the African Methodist
Episcopal Church, Dr. Stew-
ard occupies a prominent
position. Indeed, he is rec-
ognized not only as one of

the most accomplished exegetes of
his church, but an authority on ques-
tions of polity and history as well.
He has been often mentioned as a
probable candidate for the office of
bishop; and though the good doc-
tor disclaims the possession of any
qualifications desirable in a church
dignitary, it may be questioned
if the ecclesiastical mantle could
fall upon worthier shoulders than

He is the author of a dozen works
of more or less substantial merit; he
has a reading acquaintance with
Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, and
German ; speaks and writes French
with grace and fluency, and is mas-
ter of an excellent English style.

As a pastor he has been success-
ful, presiding at various times over
large congregations in Washington,
Philadelphia, Baltimore, and other

At present he is a literary worker,
whose productions find ready accept-



ance with editors of magazines and
leading journals. Such men as these
verify the statements that the men-
tal development required in military


tactics enables the soldier to enter
the literary world and successfully
compete with the most logical wril
of the present day.



He stands alone amid the joyous throng,

A mortal lost upon the sea of life;
Unto his ears the merry shout and song

But turn to cries of agony and strife.

He has no brother, sister, child nor wife,
Nor father, nor a mother's tender love
That care for him. The sunbeams from above

Descend and cut him like a foeman's knife.

No deed of wilful wrong was ever done

By him; and yet his anguished mind can trace
Along the path of life which he has run

A line of errors nothing can efface.

And now, forsaken, gloomy, in disgrace,
Denied by kindred and by former friends,
Down to the very dust his proud head bends

While Death and Woe are stamped upon his face.

Alone! No word of sympathy or cheer

Is offered to his sad and lonely heart;
No sounds of tender cadence reach his ear

Nor to his spirit joyful news impart.

Despair exhausts on him its hellish art;
He suffers hell on earth; and now, what more
Can Justice claim upon the other shore

When from the earth his spirit shall depart!



AT sixteen a lover eloping with
his mistress; in two years
thereafter first a miner, then
a monte-dealer, finally an outlaw;
at eighteen the head and heart of a
band of desperadoes numbering from
twenty to eighty; handsome and
brave, feared by men and adored by
women — this was Joaquin Murieta,
the famous bandit of California.

Murieta was born in the depart-
ment of Sonora, Mexico, and there
passed sixteen uneventful years, im-
bibing a very mild education in the
public school, and endearing himself
to his mates by the sweetness and
geniality of his disposition. His
troubles began, not at all remarkably,
with a woman. In his seventeenth
year he became desperately enamored
of Rosita Felix. Even at that early
age it seems his fascinations were
irresistible. The gay Boccaccian idyl
ad its appropriate climax in dis-

very and flight.

Pursued by Rosita's irate and re-
vengeful father, the lovers fled,
crossed the line in safety, and took
refuge in Los Angeles. This was
in '49. Here Murieta lived peacefully
for a time, until he was implicated
by confession of one of his associates
in a horse-stealing raid of some pre-
vious date. Just or unjust, the charge
drove him from Los Angeles — for in
that wild time and country a mur-
derer might and probably would
go scot-free, but a horse-thief was
hanged as soon as caught.

To the gold-fever now raging over
the whole country, Joaquin fell an
early and an easy victim. In the
spring of 1850, we find him, still ac-
companied by the faithful Rosita —
more faithful, alas, to him than he
to her — engaged in mining among
the Stanislaus placers, where he had


a rich claim, and was on the roa

One evening his cabin, where with
Rosita he was resting alter a hard
day's work, was invaded by a party
of some half-dozen American ruthans.

"You don't know, I suppose, that
greasers are not allowed to take gold
from American ground," began the
leader insolently.

"If you mean that I have no right
to my claim, in obtaining which I
have conformed to all the laws of the
district, I certainly did not know it,"
replied Joaquin quietly.

"Well, you maj* know it now; and
you have got to go. So vamoose, git,
and take that trumpery with y
jerking his thumb toward Rosita.
"The women, if anything, are w
than the men."

Joaquin stepped forward with
clenched hands, the blood mantling
his dark face. "I will leave these
parts if such be your wish, but
one word against that woman, and
though you were ten times an Ameri-
can, you shall rue it!"

Scarcely were these words uttered
when one of the party reached over
and struck Joaquin a severe blow in
the face. The latter sprang tor his
bowie-knife, which he had thrown
upon the bed on returning from work.
Rosita, instinct with the danger such
rashness threatened, threw bei
before him, and seizing him in her
arms, frantically held him. For the
intruders to thrust the woman aside
and strike the unarmed man BOl
less, was the work of a mOfl*
When Joaquin awoke to c<>
ness it was to find Rosita prostrate,
her face buried in her clothes, -
bing hysterically. Then he knew
the worst. Fleeing from the di
crated spot, home no longer, Joaquin


6 9 6


and Rosita sought refuge on a little
rancho, hidden away in the Calaveras
Mountains. Even here they were
not permitted to rest in peace.
Driven out again by the all-coveting
Yankee prospector, they next went
to Murphy's Diggings, where Joaquin
once more tried his luck at the mines.
But fickle fortune no longer smiled
on him, and after a time, weary of
labor without reward, he became a
monte-dealer. This occupation, then
considered respectable, was better
suited to the peculiar abilities of the
suave young Sonorense, and for a
time he prospered exceedingly.

But the fates were hostile and re-
fused to be placated. One evening,
while riding into town a horse which
he had borrowed from a half-brother,
who lived on a ranch near by, he
was accosted by an American, who
claimed that the animal had been
stolen from him. In vain Murieta
explained that he had borrowed it
and pleaded "pro alicno" A half-
drunken crowd soon surrounded him,
pulled him from the saddle, and car-
ried him to the ranch of his brother,
whom they summarily launched into
eternity from the branch of one of
his own trees; they then bound Joa-
quin to the same tree, and flogged

It was the last straw. The boy's
hot southern blood flamed into mad-
ness. Looking around the circle of
his enemies, he marked each one,
and swore against them all a terrible
oath of vengeance — kept but too well.
From that time forth he was the re-
lentless foe and scourge of the in-
crowding Americans. Typifying the
struggle between victor and van-
quished, he was — or considered him-
self — not a renegade and rebel so
much as a victim of intolerable in-
justice, fighting to avenge the wrongs
of himself and his countrymen upon
their oppressors.

Not long afterward, the body of an
American — one of those concerned
in the flogging of Joaquin and the
murder of his brother — was found

near Murphy's Diggings, literally
hacked to pieces. Suspicion pointed
to Joaquin, and was confirmed by
other murders following in quick
succession. The name of the young
Mexican began to be whispered about,
coupled with threats of speedy lynch-
ing. These came to Joaquin's ears,
and again he fled, none too soon.

Within a few months he was at the
head of a band of desperadoes, num-
bering sometimes as high as eighty.
In the organization and manipulation
of this little army, Joaquin's talents
had full sway and accomplished their
work well. Among his followers
his word was as the law of the Medes
and Persians — from it there was no
appeal, disobedience to it was pun-
ished by death. Each member of
the band had his peculiar duties to
perform, his allotted field of opera-
tions, the limits of which he must
not overstep. For all the path of
distinction was plainly marked — it
was a trail of human blood. No out-
law was much respected who had not
killed his man, and rank was high
in proportion to the number slain.
All these men were expert marks-
men and equestrians, always splen-
didly mounted and armed.

The executive ability and personal
magnetism of Joaquin enabled him
to weld and compact what would
ordinarily have been a disorderly
crew into a unit, and to wield this
terrible weapon with matchless pre-
cision and effect. For three years —
a long time at that rushing epoch —
he swept the country like a cyclone,
defying the impotent government
officials, marking his path by a wide
swath of robbery and murder, and
making the name of Joaquin a terror
from Shasta to Tulare.

At no time before or since in the
histor3 r of the coast could such a
state of things be possible. But at
that time the whole region was in
upheaval. Justice was paralyzed,
government a farce, and the minority
of peace-loving citizens forced to
band themselves together into vigi-



lance committees to supply the defi-
ciencies of the public officers. Los
Angeles was then known as the wick-
edest cit3 r on the coast. Being- near
the Mexican border it furnished a
convenient stopping place for gam-
blers en route from Mexico to the
mines, and for criminals to whom a
trip across the line might at any mo-
ment become a necessity. As a con-
sequence, in 1851-53 it had more des-
peradoes domiciled within its small
limits than were at large in all the
rest of California. Its average mor-
tality was one a day. At one time
the office of sheriff, worth $10,000 a
year, went begging — two incumbents
having been killed within tjie year.

Under such conditions, highway-
men were naturally as plentiful as
flowers in spring; Joaquin was only
one of many. And in order to view
his failings charitably, it is only
necessary to recall the names and
deeds of his rivals in crime — Camillo,
Armigo, Salomon Pico, Vasquez, and
a host of others — men who without
his provocations were to the full as
sanguinary as he, and who had all
his vices without any of his redeem-
ing traits.

One of the choice spirits he ruled

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 93 of 120)