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Where was the Frémont howitzer left in 1844?

Frémont, January 28, 1844:
Snow and broken country together made our traveling difficult; we were often compelled to make large circuits, and ascend the highest and most exposed ridges, in order to avoid snow, which in other places was banked up to a great depth.

To-night we did not succeed in getting the Howitzer into camp. This was the most laborious day we had yet passed through; the steep ascents and deep snow exhausting both men and animals.

Frémont, January 29, 1844:
We followed a trail down a hollow where the Indians had descended, the snow being so deep that we never came near the ground; but this only made our descent the easier, and, when we reached a little affluent to the river at the bottom [Deep creek], we suddenly found ourselves in the presence of eight or ten Indians. The principal stream [Walker River] still running through an impractical cañon , we ascended a very steep hill, which proved afterwards the last and fatal obstacle to our little howitzer, which was finally abandoned at this place.

The present built road descends into, and exits, Deep Creek via substantial cuts. That road did not exist at the time of the 1905 USGS map survey. Frémont's descent, because of deep snow, was most likrly along the top of the descending spur, arriving at a point where he had a view of the river still bound between canyon walls with no bottom upon which to travel.From there the howitzer, on its wheeled carriage, was most probably lowered straight down into the canyon (yellow route below) with rope snubbing when necessary. That was the method previously used when it was lowered into the Metolious River, and also on the two-day descent from Winter Ridge down to Summer Lake.

The route from the 1845 Frémont-Preuss map
accompanying the expedition Report.

 

Download Frémonts full account of the days January 25-29, 1844.

 

Deep Creek, Joseph Le Conte, 1870.

On we rode, and presently a cañon [Deep Creek], right across the way--and what a cañon!
"Surely it is impossible to cross that!"
A thousand feet deep, and less than a thousand feet wide at the top, and the sides seemingly perpendicular! But across it we must go. Already we see Hawkins and the advance guard near the top of the other side. We speak to them across the yawning chasm. The trail wound backward and forward, down one side, across the foaming stream, and then backward and forward up the other side.

 

 

HOWITZER CARRIAGE PARTS RECOVERED.

go Frémont's Cannon (sound sample), by Richard Elloyan.

Read THE CROSSING to follow the complete 1845 narrative description to where Frémont's Howitzer was left in 1844.

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Bob Graham